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Column: Ich wäre lieber in Deutschland – fürs Oktoberfest

Sunday, Oct. 2 wrapped up the annual tradition in Munich known as Oktoberfest, when millions of tourists descend upon the Bavarian capital for a weeks-long celebration of the region's history and centuries-old beer culture.

Sunday, Oct. 2 wrapped up the annual tradition in Munich known as Oktoberfest, when millions of tourists descend upon the Bavarian capital for a weeks-long celebration of the region's history and centuries-old beer culture. This year marked the return of the popular festival for the first time since 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling it in 2020 and 2021. 

I celebrated the occasion quietly on Saturday night, sipping a Paulaner Hefeweizen and eating soft pretzels while I watched a movie. I couldn't help but wish I was in Munich, instead. (As the title of this column loosely translates, 'I'd rather be in Germany – for Oktoberfest').

As I've mentioned a few times in previous columns, I lived in Germany briefly in 2015. I minored in German in university, and was lucky to call Bamberg, Bavaria home for six months, while I studied German language courses at the Otto-Friedrich Universität. Bamberg is a small university city in the sub-province of Franken, the most northern section of the state of Bavaria. It's located just a few hours' drive north of Munich.

I left Germany to return to Calgary in late August 2015, regrettably just a few weeks before Oktoberfest got underway, meaning I missed out on the celebration. I remember seeing images of the 2015 Oktoberfest on my social media feed, feeling pangs of jealousy as some of the friends I had made in Bamberg enjoyed the festivities down in Munich. Though I had been to a smaller-scale beer fest in Erlangen that summer, the event can't really be compared to the international spectacle that is Oktoberfest.

I have a long-lasting interest in German culture and language, which is why I wanted to study German and do a semester there in the first place. I love German cuisine (Bratwurst, Schnitzel, Currywurst, and the Franconian specialty of Schäufele come immediately to mind) and I consider the beer from southern Germany among the best brewed in the world. I'm also borderline obsessed with the German Bundesliga (the country's national soccer league), and watch the games every Saturday and Sunday morning. 

While I don't know when or how, I would love the opportunity to return to Germany some day, and a stop in Munich for Oktoberfest is high on my to-do list. I would also like to see other parts of the country, as the majority of my travels in 2015 were in the southernmost state of Bavaria. There's still a lot of Germany I haven't visited, such as the northern cities of Bremen and Hamburg, or the east Germany cities of Leipzig and Dresden. I'd also love the opportunity to attend some more Bundesliga games in person, as I only went to a few while I was living in Germany in 2015. 

Of course, with my honeymoon to Spain just a few months back, and with a recent house purchase, it's going to take a while before such a trip is feasible.

Scott Strasser

About the Author: Scott Strasser

Scott Strasser, editor
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